Best Backpacking Solar Chargers

by eslevy17

Looking for electricity outdoors? Review the best outdoor solar chargers on sale, for hiking, camping, traveling, and emergency use.

A backpacking solar charger is the best option for charging electronic devices in the outdoors. A range of devices can be found for sale, with all sorts of options, from the most compact to larger, more powerful models, which will allow hikers, campers, travelers and others in need of wireless electricity with a way to charge their devices, large and small.

Whether it's just an iPhone that needs charging, or a DVD player for evening entertainment, portable solar chargers are the answer.

Backpacking Solar Chargers for Smartphones

For iPhones, iPods, and other digital devices

Most people need nothing more than the peace of mind that they will be able to make a phone call in emergency situations, or play iPhone games when they’re bored. Small, portable solar chargers can provide sufficient, though not necessarily fast-charging, solar power to devices when in need of light or moderate use.

These devices are compact, and thus won’t get the same amount of energy from the sun as larger solar panels, and thus will not charge the devices as quickly as might be ideal; but if you make sure to take out the tiny device every time you take a break for lunch, you’ll probably be able to get by with the more compact models.

All of these devices include a USB charging port, which will work with nearly all smartphones, and in some cases, other ports to charge other types of devices.

Solar Battery Chargers for AA and AAA Batteries

For standard battery-powered devices

For those in need of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries while outdoors, the options are somewhat larger, accommodating various sizes of batteries within the unit. These sorts of devices can be helpful for powering standard devices that run on standard batteries, rather than simply the newer generation of electronics.

On the upside, the larger sizes generally imply larger solar panels, which speed up charging, and the lower capacity of most AA or AAA batteries compared to lithium batteries means that these will probably charge up a lot faster than the average smartphone battery.

Folding Solar Chargers

Larger sizes for greater power needs

For larger or multiple devices, or more frequent use, larger solar chargers can accommodate higher power needs without running so quickly into the problem of underpowered devices.

As they are larger than some of the pocket-sized models listed above, these are more suitable for car camping, base camp needs, and other situations, perhaps even running a laptop without needing to draw power from the grid, rather than suitable as a backpacker solar charger for shorter hikes. Power generation will vary by weather conditions, of course, but these larger designs will accommodate a greater demand for energy, yet remain fairly compact and easily portable. The listed models fold to fit into smaller compartments when not in use, and expand to soak up those solar rays.

Updated: 05/01/2012, eslevy17
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